Something has to account for Mike Weir’s impressive success in 2003. Media commentators are fond of saying “Mike went away from his waggle in 2002, and he reintroduced it in 2003.” Weir himself has said as much…
So what’s the big deal with the “waggle” anyway?
Weir started using the familiar waggle in 1998. As he has put it, “It just kind of worked its way in from a drill from trying to combat…a little bit of a shut club face.”
In fact Weir’s move is not really a classic “waggle” at all. Ben Hogan discussed the waggle in Five Lessons. For Hogan the waggle was primarily a hand and wrist move. You know, where the golfer addresses the ball, and then “waggles” the club back and forth with his hands.
According to Hogan, “…the backswing is simply an extension of the way the golfer takes the club back on the waggle.” But if you look at photos of the Hogan pre-shot routine, you’ll see him waggle with his hands, then you’ll see him take the club back in a completely different way. The waggle seems to imply an early wrist cock — almost at the very beginning of the back swing. But in fact Hogan didn’t set his wrists until well into the backswing. So whatever it was, the Hogan waggle was not a “rehearsal” of the backswing.
For Weir it definitely is a “rehearsal” of the backswing — and therefore I think makes more sense. Watch Mike closely and you’ll see him do that now familiar two piece move — take the club back “low and slow” (well, moderately low and slow), then deliberately cock the hands up just before hitting the horizontal position. It is a very deliberate setting of the hands — a “rehearsal” of the move he wants to make in his actual backswing.
In other words, he is reminding himself that he wants to get his club into a specific position on the way up. As he said in the same interview quoted above, “For me it started as a drill with my coach to combat a tendency I had for a shut club face and a problem I had in my backswing, just a little drill. I took it to the golf course just in some practice rounds just playing with my coach. It felt so good, we were like, let’s try it…”
Apparently it works. And why wouldn’t it? Instead of rehearsing a little hand flip, you rehearse the actual take away you want to employ — and in particular, your hand and wrist position just before going to the top. Seems like a pretty sensible thing to do.
So why don’t more golfers do it? I suspect it is because they are not comfortable with that early setting of the wrists. They have been told (or think they have been told) that the hands should get into the set position “naturally”. Mike Weir’s success should have a lot of golfers rethinking that assumption.